COLLINSVILLE, IL. (KTVI) – Tuesday we were off to Fairmount Racetrack when we`re interrupted by a buzzing sound.
‘What does that mean?’ asks Patrick Clark
‘First race,’ says apprentice jockey Stephanie Slinger.
‘Get ready?’ asks Patrick Clark.
‘Yes,’ laughs Slinger.
And Stephanie Slinger has to get ready because…
‘I actually ride race horses for a living and go really fast,’ says Slinger.
Slinger is one of three galloping girl jockeys at Fairmont.
While they all share the same love, for 16 year old Cheyana Patrick, racing runs in the family.
‘My mom she was actually a jockey for ten years so I guess that had something to do with it,’ says Cheyanna Patrick.
Female jockeys are nothing new, but having three at one time at Fairmont is the first time for this kind of trifecta.
‘This is my third year here and I’m used to being the only one but, I’m glad it’s these girls cause I get along with them,’ says jockey Aymara Rivero.
It`s common for these competitors to talk strategy before they saddle up and then comes time to hold their heads up high.
‘There are a lot of trainers that say, ‘Girls aren’t strong enough or girls aren’t intimidated enough or brave enough,’ says Slinger. ‘You kind of have to go out of your way to show that you are that you’re just as capable.’
‘These ladies admit it’s nice to have a friend in the locker room and stable but once it comes to race time, it’s every woman for themselves,’ says Patrick Clark.
‘I’m a very competitive person and sometimes that`s a bad thing because you lose a lot more than you win around here,’ says Rivero.
But winning isn’t everything, sometimes it’s the friendships you make along the way.
‘I don’t know how I would get used to being here if there were no other girls,’ admits Patrick.
‘It’d be tough.’
‘It’s nice to have somebody else to understand what you’re going through and what you’re going for,’ adds Slinger.
Which are the winner’s circle and a little equality in this equestrian sport.